Stories of hope and trust: On International Day of Peace UNMIK celebrates Kosovo’s local champions of change, defying divisiveness to build togetherness
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21 September 2022 - On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Caroline Ziadeh commends trust-building champions across Kosovo communities who stand tall and together to contribute to sustained peace, building hope for the future. “Despite divisive narratives and socioeconomic strife, our local partners work tirelessly to bring Kosovo communities together – through shared solutions to shared problems, creating friendships that defy boundaries of ethnicity and conflict,” SRSG Ziadeh said
Today UNMIK celebrates these changemakers by sharing some of their stories: of young girls from various communities and municipalities who broke stereotypes to become football stars; a bilingual children’s book that celebrates diversity and colours of nature; neighbours from various communities who support each other despite long years of turmoil; a team of women working with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence; bonds forged between artists; a multi-ethnic team of astronomers that gave Kosovo its observatory back after 35 years; K-Roma youth who aspire to improve representation in the media and combat misinformation; and so much more.
Through this intensified people-to-people outreach and promoting intercommunity dialogue on the ground, UNMIK continues to support the progress in high level political discussions, in particular the EU-facilitated dialogue.
In the last five years, we have implemented more than 250 programmatic activities and confidence-building projects in collaboration with our local implementing partners from across Kosovo communities and municipalities, contributing over $12 million to a diverse set of trust-building initiatives. These have focused on areas such as multilingualism, access to justice, sport, media and addressing misinformation, IT, education, art, human rights, economic empowerment, youth, women peace and security, people with disabilities, environment, among others.
In the spirit of togetherness and sustained peace as a path to progress and political equanimity, we pay heed to the words of Secretary-General Antonió Guterres: “Instead of fighting each other, we should be working to defeat our true enemies: racism, poverty, inequality, conflict, the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic... And we should drown out the vicious voices of hate speech with a united and sustained cry for truth, understanding and mutual respect.”
This #InternationalDayOfPeace, read these stories of people across Kosovo who re-affirm the bonds of solidarity shared as human beings, working in their own ordinary and revolutionary ways to build a better, more peaceful Kosovo: